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Federal judge blocks Texas’s controversial ban on most abortions


BREAKING: Federal judge blocks Texas’s controversial ban on most abortions

  • A federal judge temporarily blocked Texas’s near-total ban on abortion on Wednesday after the Biden administration challenged the legislation
  • Action by US District Judge Robert Pitman prevents the state from enforcing the abortion law prohibiting women from getting an abortion after six weeks
  • The abortion law is the most restrictive of its kind in the US
  • The news comes after thousands of women took part in a series of 660 marches to protest against the restrictive abortion law on Saturday


A federal judge temporarily blocked Texas‘s controversial near-total ban on abortion on Wednesday after the Biden administration challenged the legislation. 

The action by US District Judge Robert Pitman in Austin prevents the state from enforcing the abortion law, which prohibits women from getting an abortion after six weeks of pregnancy – before some women even know they’re pregnant.

The lawsuit said the restrictions, which went into effect on September 1, were enacted in defiance of the US Constitution and waged an attack on a woman’s constitutional right to abortion.

To enforce the law, Texas deputized private citizens to file lawsuits against violators, and has entitled them to at least $10,000 in damages if successful. 

Pitman took the first legal blow to the Texas law known as Senate Bill 8 – the strictest of its kind in the country – which, until now, withstood a wave of early challenges.

A federal judge temporarily blocked Texas’s controversial near-total ban on abortion on Wednesday after the Biden administration challenged the legislation, which prohibits women from getting an abortion after six weeks of pregnancy. Texas Gov Greg Abbott (pictured) signed the measure into law back in May

Proceedings over its legality is continuing as the case is part of a fierce legal battle over abortion access across the United States as other states – mostly in the South – pursue some level of restriction. All of them have been blocked.

In the weeks since the bill took effect, Texas abortion providers say the impact has been ‘exactly what we feared’.

Planned Parenthood says the number of patients from Texas at its clinics in the state decreased by nearly 80 per cent in the two weeks after the law took effect. 

Some providers have said that Texas clinics are now in danger of closing while neighboring states struggle to keep up with a surge of patients who must drive hundreds of miles. Other women, they say, are being forced to carry pregnancies to term. 

Even with the law on hold abortion services in the state may not instantly resume because doctors still fear that they could be sued without a more permanent legal decision. 

Texas officials are likely to seek a swift reversal from the 5th US Circuit Court of Appeals, which previously allowed the restrictions to take effect. 

But Justice Department attorney Brian Netter said in federal court on Friday that ‘a state may not ban abortions at six weeks’. 

The news comes after thousands of women took part in a series of 660 marches to protest against Texas's restrictive abortion law on Saturday

The news comes after thousands of women took part in a series of 660 marches to protest against Texas’s restrictive abortion law on Saturday

A crowd of more than 1,000 protesters gathered at the state capital in Austin as people chanted 'Abort Abbott' in reference to Texas Gov Greg Abbot

A crowd of more than 1,000 protesters gathered at the state capital in Austin as people chanted ‘Abort Abbott’ in reference to Texas Gov Greg Abbot

‘Texas knew this, but it wanted a six-week ban anyway, so the state resorted to an unprecedented scheme of vigilante justice that was designed to scare abortion providers and others who might help women exercise their constitutional rights,’ he added. 

Texas’ abortion law has so far outmaneuvered the courts because it leaves enforcement to private citizens to file suits, not prosecutors, which critics say amounts to a bounty. 

Will Thompson, defending the law for the Texas Attorney General’s Office, said: ‘This is not some kind of vigilante scheme. This is a scheme that uses the normal, lawful process of justice in Texas.’ 

The news comes after thousands of women took part in a series of 660 marches to protest against Texas’s restrictive abortion law on Saturday.

A crowd of more than 1,000 protesters gathered at the state capital in Austin as people chanted ‘Abort Abbott’ in reference to Texas Gov Greg Abbot, who signed the measure into law back in May.

In New York those marching included celebrities. Jennifer Lawrence, who is expecting her first child, posed with her baby bump together with Amy Schumer. 

‘I don’t have a uterus and she is pregnant but we out here @womensmarch @plannedparenthood #rallyforabortionjustice’ Schumer captioned a photo on Instagram. 

Amy Schumer (left) and Jennifer Lawrence (right) attended the Rally for Abortion Justice event in New York City on Saturday

Amy Schumer (left) and Jennifer Lawrence (right) attended the Rally for Abortion Justice event in New York City on Saturday

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